Jack the Ripper (1988 TV series)
Jack the Ripper is a 1988 two-part television film/miniseries portraying a fictionalized account of the hunt for Jack the Ripper, the unidentified serial killer responsible for the Whitechapel murders of 1888. The series coincided with the 100th anniversary of the murders.
During the autumn of 1888, a notorious serial killer nicknamed "Jack the Ripper" terrorizes the East End of London by murdering "shilling whores" through gruesome and horrific ways. Soon, it isn't long before a public outrage erupts throughout the country and the world's tabloids immediately focus on Whitechapel. Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline is assigned to find, locate and bring justice to the Ripper, only to find that the entire case is much more than a murder inquiry.
Using historical characters involved in the genuine 1888 hunt for the killer, the film was written by Derek Marlowe and David Wickes, the latter also being the film's director. The series drew heavily on the same discredited Masonic/Royal Family conspiracy theory as the 1978 film Murder By Decree, and later in From Hell (2001) - a theory first put forward in the 1960s by Thomas E. A. Stowell who published his claims in a November 1970 issue of The Criminologist. His theory was later turned into the bestselling Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution by Stephen Knight. The 1988 film dispenses with the fictional Sherlock Holmes who uncovered the conspiracy in Murder By Decree and instead concentrates on the real-life Whitechapel detective Frederick Abberline.
Several endings were filmed for the series. Before the series was broadcast, writer David Wickes claimed that he had been allowed unprecedented access to the Scotland Yard files on the Ripper case and stated that his production would be revealing the 'true' identity of Jack the Ripper for the first time. After pressure from Ripperologist Melvin Harris and others, he was forced to withdraw this claim. Originally, Barry Foster of Van der Valk was cast in the role of Abberline, and actually began filming for the series in October 1987. However, it was decided that a more famous actor would be required for the part if the series was to sell in the United States, so the role was recast with Michael Caine who began filming in February 1988. Ironically, Foster had earlier replaced Caine in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, when Caine refused to play a serial killer who mutilates women. George Godley was originally played by Brian Capron.
Jack the Ripper was nominated for the following awards:
- Golden Globe -1989- Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Michael Caine Won (Award Tied)
- Golden Globe -1989- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Armand Assante Nominated
- George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee was depicted in the film as a violent, argumentative troublemaker when in fact he was very quiet, a good local business man, a Churchwarden and a Freemason.
- Ken Bones, George Sweeney and Edward Judd all played the same parts in the unfinished Barry Foster/David Wickes Thames TV drama.
- Hugh Fraser wore clothing that Sir Charles Warren had actually worn.
- This was both Harry Andrews's and Edward Judd's last production.
- Armand Assante's stand-in died during filming.